Ringo and Bayard in Faulkner's The Unvanquished Essay

Ringo and Bayard in Faulkner's The Unvanquished Essay

Length: 577 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Comparing and Contrasting Bayard and Ringo

Bayard and his black slave and sidekick, Ringo, are twelve years old when we are first introduced to them in William Faulkner's The Unvanquished. Ringo (Marengo) grandson of Joby, is born a slave on John Sartoris' plantation. He and Bayard nursed from the same slave's breast and become constant companions: "Ringo and I had been born in the same month," Bayard says, "and had both fed at the same breast and had slept together and eaten together for so long that Ringo called Granny 'Granny' just like I did, until maybe he wasn't a nigger anymore or maybe I wasn't a white boy anymore, the two of us neither, not even people any longer" (7). Ringer serves as Bayard's faithful companion.

Certain narrative passages of The Unvanquished attempt to show Bayard and Ringo engaged in a competition as equals. Though Ringo never flaunts his superiority, he emanates it. Several times, Bayard, the narrator, mentions his feelings of inferiority: "Father was right; he (Ringo) was smarter than me"(142); "He (Ringo) had got taller during the summer; he was taller than me now, and had got to treating me like Granny did--like he and Granny were the same age instead of him and me." (143) Though both boys are always together (except in the last chapter) we sense that Bayard always seems to want to prove he is far superior to Ringo. And, Ringo quietly accepts that he--the slave-- is the smarter of the two. Even when the boys play war games together, Bayard makes the rules: "Ringo could be General Pemberton or he wouldn't play anymore." Deep down, Bayard senses Ringo is his slave and must do his bidding. Ringo realizes this too and allows Bayard to choose their games. Granny also senses Ringo's intelligence (...


... middle of paper ...


...He (Ringo) had outgrown me, had changed so much that summer while he and Granny traded mules with the Yankees that since then I had had to do most of the catching up with him." (248) Bayard seems to hold Ringo's intelligence against him, bears a grudge against him; and Ringo--silent and sullen--seems to resent something about Bayard. It is almost as if a whole chapter is missing somehow and the tale of the black boy and his white friend is deliberately omitted. On the ride home, they speak only once when Ringo suggests they buckwash Redmond like they had done Grumby: "But I reckon that wouldn't suit that white skin you walks around with." Here are definitely subtle undertones of an awakening in both men. Ringo has taken his rightful place beside Bayard--now The Sartoris--his nigger slave?

Works Cited:

Faulkner, W. The Unvanquished. New York: Vintage Books, 1966.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Maturation of Bayard in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essay

- The Maturation of Bayard in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished William Faulkner tells his novel The Unvanquished through the eyes and ears of Bayard, the son of Confederate Colonel John Sartoris. The author’s use of a young boy during such a turbulent time in American history allows him to relate events from a unique perspective. Bayard holds dual functions within the novel, as both a character and a narrator. The character of Bayard matures into a young adult within the work, while narrator Bayard relays the events of the story many years later....   [tags: Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essays]

Good Essays
640 words (1.8 pages)

Bayard’s Search for Subjective Truth in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essay

- Bayard’s Search for Subjective Truth in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Unlike Sarty Snopes of “Barn Burning”, the narrator of The Unvanquished leads a somewhat existential life. Sarty takes an objectively moral stance when abandoning his abusive father. Conversely, Bayard Sartoris is faced with the “ambiguity and absurdity of the human situation” and is on a search for subjective truth (Kierkegaard). Though he acts on behalf of his family, he does things that he knows can be considered wrong. Additionally, he is asked to believe new information and take in experiences that are foreign to him....   [tags: Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essays]

Free Essays
526 words (1.5 pages)

Concepts of Masculinity in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essay

- Concepts of Masculinity in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished In The Unvanquished, the reader assumes that the narrator is Bayard Sartoris, a boy born to John Sartoris and his now deceased wife. Bayard's gender is not immediately apparent, though remote understanding of southern customs and common boyhood activities encourages one to guess that he is male. First, Ringo is more easily identified as a black boy, and by the age of twelve, black boys and white girls would likely not be permitted such intimate and unsupervised interaction....   [tags: Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essays]

Good Essays
507 words (1.4 pages)

Southern Masculinity in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essay

- Southern Masculinity in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished The narrator of Faulkner’s The Unvanquished is apparently an adult recounting his childhood. The first person narrator is a child at the story’s outset, but the narrative voice is lucid, adult. Telling the story of his childhood allows the narrator to distinguish for the reader what he believed as a child from what he “know[s] better now” (10). The difference affords an examination of dominant southern masculinity as it is internalized by Bayard and Ringo, and demonstrates the effects on the boys of the impossible ideal....   [tags: Faulkner?s The Unvanquished Essays]

Good Essays
877 words (2.5 pages)

The Perspective of a Child in William Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essay

- The Perspective of a Child in William Faulkner’s The Unvanquished In the novel The Unvanquished, by William Faulkner, the story of a child’s journey from boyhood to manhood is told through the perspective of an adult reflecting upon the past. Faulkner uses the narrator of the novel, Bayard Sartoris, to recall numerous experiences and portray intricate details that involve time, place, and setting through several techniques of writing. Language, empirical knowledge, and tone play a major role in the readers understanding of the perspective of which the story is told....   [tags: Faulkner’s The Unvanquished]

Free Essays
524 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on The Diminishing Southern Code in William Faulkner's The Unvanquished

- The Diminishing Southern Code in William Faulkner's The Unvanquished      In the novel The Unvanquished, by William Faulkner, most of the characters strictly follow by a code of laws and moral values called the Southern Code. At the beginning of the book, the characters follow the Southern Code more strictly than at the end. Some of the rules which start to diminish during the course of the novel are as follows: no stealing, no profanity, no lying, treat women and the elderly with respect, and seek revenge on those who have caused you pain....   [tags: William Faulkner The Unvanquished]

Good Essays
959 words (2.7 pages)

Narrative Recollection in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essay

- Narrative Recollection in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished The narrator in William Faulkner’s “The Unvanquished” is an adult looking back on his childhood experiences. This is a powerful technique, because the reader can receive two sets of images through one voice – in this case both the impressions of the young Bayard Sartoris as well as his older (and perhaps wiser) adult self. There are several ways in which the author makes this known, the first being Faulkner’s use of first person, but in the past tense....   [tags: Unvanquished Essays]

Free Essays
568 words (1.6 pages)

Narrator’s Use of Language and Memory in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essay

- Narrator’s Use of Language and Memory in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished In the Unvanquished, a version of southern masculinity is developed through the narrator using dialect and the device, or should I say vice of memory. Fairly early in the novel, the reflective standpoint of the narrator becomes obvious, and a certain sense of “retelling” the story, not just telling it as it happened, prevails. This use of memory is not necessarily selective but it does show the processing of perceptions of the narrator’s childhood....   [tags: Faulkner’s The Unvanquished Essays]

Free Essays
614 words (1.8 pages)

Narrative Techniques in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished and Barn Burning Essay

- Narrative Techniques in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished and Barn Burning The Unvanquished is composed of a series of stories during which Bayard Sartoris, the narrator, grows up from a twelve-year-old boy to a young man of twenty-four years. The narrative style makes it obvious that events are being related by an adult who is looking back at his past. There are several indications of this: in the very first story “Ambuscade”, the narrator, while describing his war games with his coloured friend, Ringo, states: “We were just twelve then”....   [tags: Unvanquished Essays]

Good Essays
795 words (2.3 pages)

Non-Chronological Narration Technique Used in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished

- Non-Chronological Narration Technique Used in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished The novel The Unvanquished is a about a young boy’s coming of age story, as seen through the eyes of the grown man that he is to become. The great advantage of this form of narration is the ability it grants Faulkner to be able to reach forward and backward through time unrestrained in order to pull the type of significance and lesson from this boy’s story that can only be seen upon reflection. Despite surely being a technique borrowed from the author James Joyce, William Faulkner was arguably the first to realize what this disregard for chronology could offer to a story of values of masculinity....   [tags: Unvanquished Essays]

Free Essays
582 words (1.7 pages)